Tomorrow, Vol. 2 of my book, “The Digital Photography Book” goes to press, and this past week or so I’ve been struggling with something I deal with in every book I write, and that is; “How do I get my readers to read the introduction to the book?”
I put information in these introductions that’s actually very important, including things like where the link is to download the photos used in the book, and which versions of the software the book works with, and workarounds if you have older versions, and my introductions (short as they are) are designed to do one thing; make the book more useful for my readers. I really care that if people invest in one of my books, that they get more than their money’s worth, and if they skip the intro, they will definitely miss out some of the features of the book, why certain things are written the way they are, and much more.
But from my years of research, I’ve found that most people skip over any introduction (not just in my books, but in all books). I understand, they want to get right to the meat of the book, so I keep my intros very short, but it doesn’t help. I know people skip over it, because daily (and I mean each and every single day), I get numerous emails from readers asking the very questions which are answered in those intros. I’ve tried every trick in the book to get people to read my short intros, including:
- Naming the intro Chapter 0
- Disguising it as a real tutorial
- Telling the reader NOT to read this section
- Using humor (well, a lame attempt at humor) to get the reader involved
- Including it at the front of Chapter 1
- And basically camouflaging it any way I can, to get people to actually take two minutes and read it.
So here’s where I need your help. I’ve already written the introduction to this book, and it’s particularly important because this is a Vol 2. and it will be for two different readers: (1) People who bought the first book, and will want to know how this relates to the first volume, and where I posted some video clips with expanded information from the book, etc. and (2) People who haven’t bought Vol. 1 and need to know how the book works, which cameras it works for, and a host of things they would be sending me (or my publisher) emails about.
Anyway, if you have any ideas or suggestions on what I can do to get my readers to read these short intros (I could rewrite it tonight, and have it edited by tomorrow’s deadline) I would be seriously indebted to you. In fact, I take this so seriously, that if you post an idea or suggestion here (as a comment) that makes me rewrite the intro tonight, I will arrange for you to have a free full conference pass to the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, coming up in April in Orlando, FL. If I don’t wind up rewriting it, but incorporate one of your ideas, I’ll still send you a signed copy of the book, with my thanks and gratitude.
But beyond just snagging the pass or a signed book, you’ll be helping me and my readers, immeasurably, and you’ll remove the single most frustrating obstacle I face in writing educational books, for that I will be forever indebted.
Just post any ideas you have here, and even if I don’t wind up rewriting this intro, there’s always the next book and if I can incorporate some of your suggestions, and make a few more people read the intros, it will have been a really worthwhile effort for both of us.
Thanks in advance to you all for your help, ideas, and suggestions, and for giving me the honor of getting to write books for you (Even though I’m sometimes silly in my books, it’s a job I take very seriously).
What an amazing opportunity (and it’s free!). The MPS Digital Photography Department of New York’s prestigious School of Visual Arts (SVA) presents a free lecture (open to the public) from renowned photographer, author, (Photoshop Hall of Famer) and educator Stephen Johnson.
The lecture explores the state of digital photography today, from being a photographer in the 21st century, to cutting edge cameras and software techniques, to engaging discourse on the
history and future of digital photography.
Here’s when and where:
December 4, 2007 7 PM
209 East 23 Street, 3rd floor
Free and open to the public
But for more details, visit their site. Thanks to everyone at SVA for making amazing presentations like this open to us all. Very cool stuff! :-)
When I wrote it, one thing that never occurred to me was that people would be posting before/afters of their photography after applying my “Seven Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3,” which was introduced in my latest book (of the same name), but they’re popping up everywhere (honestly, it’s so exciting to see my students doing this). Anyway, here are some examples I ran across this week (thanks to Google Alerts):
- Jeff’s Photo Blog has some nice before/after examples from his using the book. Click here to see his examples.
- Here’s another reader who posted some great examples (and I love his headline): Click here to jump there.
- The Delta-Romeo blog has a mini-review and comment on the book right here.
- And here’s some terrific shots of Mustangs (the cars, not the horses), and before/afters using “The System.”
Thanks so much to everyone out there who’s helping to spread the word about this new system. It really means a lot. :)
CocaCola Zero (which is, IMHO, the best diet drink in the history of diet drinks), has a very clever Flash-based productivity killer, which lets you upload your headshot, scale and crop it, then it puts it on the body of an football player (as seen above). Then you get to custom design an End Zone celebratory victory dance. It’s called the Victory Dance Choreographer, and it’s hilarious, very cleverly done, and when it’s complete (it just takes one minute), you can email the final dance movie to a friend. Take a minute or two and check this out. Just for the taste of it. ;-) Here’s the link to make your own.
Just a quick thanks to all the wonderful folks (all 800+ of you), who came out to spend the day with me for the last stop this year of my “Photoshop CS3 Power Tour.” I had a couple of special guests in the audience yesterday, including Scott Sherman, host of “The Digital Photography Show” and Jeff Revell, from the very popular “Jeff’s Photo Blog.” And although DC photography icon Mike Meyer wasn’t there in person, his presence was felt by all.
I met lots of really great people (including a lot of people who had been out to my “Lightroom Live Tour” when it was in DC a couple of months back) and it was so cool to have so many come up and let me know that they had bought Lightroom after my seminar, and how much Lightroom had changed their life. As an instructor, that was very gratifying, and reminded me once again why I do it, and how blessed I am that I get to do it.
Thanks to you all once again for your support, for spending the day with me in DC, and for showing me such gracious hospitality in your city. Can’t wait to see all you next year! :-)
Now, it’s safe to check out the other posts here today, on this auspicious “Actual Post or Two” Wednesday.